“People who tell us that the solution to our problem is drilling offshore are peddling our addiction,” said Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club. “The drug is oil, and they don't want us to get off it.”
With the latest brouhaha in Congress over George Bush’s recent lifting of a presidential moratorium, established by his father George H.W. Bush in 1990 limiting offshore drilling along our southern coast and parts of Alaska, it doesn’t take an oil rigger to figure out that our dependency on the “black gold” and its derivatives permeates virtually every aspect of our lives. It affects us in our addiction to foreign oil, the prices we pay at the pump, how much heating oil we can afford to stock up on, and the candidate we will choose in this year’s presidential election. Lou Reed sang about another type of addiction, heroin addiction. Here’s a small excerpt:
Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, its my wife and its my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I’m better off than dead.
Or out of gas.
Oil is America’s heroin. A habit no methadone or corn oil is going to replace anytime soon.
I don’t want to argue the pros and cons of oil dependency. I do want to see fewer Hummers on the road, and a few less Republicans steering this doomed “Raft of the Medusa” we call government. However, on a smaller scale, oil has seeped into areas of our lives we likely never even considered shoring up – our appreciation for art. And since I know more about art than I do oil drilling (not surprising), I would like to demonstrate how a public outcry earlier this year and a recent trip to the Great Salt Lake of Utah, increased my love for one and my distaste for the other. My thanks go to an iconic figure and his mythical artwork entitled “Spiral Jetty.” Who is this personnage? His name is Robert Smithson, artiste extraordinaire.
Smithson is someone you would call a “learned man,” a colloquialism at best but entirely accurate. I’ve only minutely scratched the surface and range of his writings and artworks, available to us today via countless photographs, publications, archives, film, and documentation, which were for the most part produced before a tragic plane crash in 1973 took his life. He was 35 years old. His intelligence and a keen perception of people and things, grouped with an insatiable curiosity, led him into fields outside of art such as science, crystallography, geology, indigenous cultures, film studies, astronomy, and literature, and on and on.